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Trust & Liberation Report Launch, with Sarah Champion MP, Danny Kruger MP, Rep. Ami Bera, Lord Alton

On 26 April Arise and Prof. Monti Datta, together with Freedom Fund, Justice & Care, URAT and Voice of the Free, launched the Trust & Liberation report at the UK House of Lords.

Trust and Liberation is a quantitative analysis of the relationship between trust and the prevalence of human trafficking across the globe. As the first of its kind, the report finds trust levels to be a reliable predictor of human trafficking and the cross-national variation of slavery. The study is part of an exciting new research agenda, seeking to broaden our understanding of impact and prevent exploitation.

The event was hosted by Arise Trustee, Lord Alton of Liverpool, who, after a short video from anti-slavery CEOs, outlined the value of the report.

“For the first time in hard numbers, we have an indication that trust and modern slavery prevalence are strongly correlated. Trust matters, in other words. I can hear the sceptics among you wondering “how can we measure trust”. Isn’t this all nebulous speculation? The short answer is “no”. For decades now researchers have been developing indices of trust. And some of them are robust. What Monti has done here is take the best data we have, and analyse it in a way which is truly ground-breaking for those involved in human rights work.”

Lord Alton then introduced Congressman Ami Bera, who has represented California’s 7th Congressional District since 2013, is Chair of the Asia subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, and has a long history of campaigning against trafficking and exploitation.

“Promoting trust and cooperation among institutions, governments and human rights NGOs will augment our collective abilities to inform and assist one another in preventing human trafficking.”

Next was Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes since 2019, but recognised up and down the country and on all sides of the House for his work on levelling up and civil society.

“Good relationships are the essential antidote to bad relationships, of which surely slavery and exploitation is the absolute nadir - the most extreme expression. Where we can build strong trusting relationships, through civil society itself and through the overarching institutions of a law governed society, we are able to counter the evil of slavery.”

Prof. Monti Datta, author of the report, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Richmond, Virginia, and one of the minds behind the Global Slavery Index, outlined the methodology and key findings of the report.

“No matter how we measure human trafficking we note a similar pattern - that trust is a statistically significant predictor. Stronger levels of trust correspond with lower incidences of slavery [...] According to the BTI scale, a one unit increase in trust corresponds to a 0.05% decrease in enslavement. Now 0.05% may not sound like much, but in a country like India, that would correspond to one million persons liberated.”

Finally, Sarah Champion took to the podium, Labour MP for Rotherham since 2012 and chair of the International Development Select Committee, with a long and distinguished record of public service.

“Generally speaking, trends in development funding are shaped by the research consensus, so it is very welcome indeed that we finally have some research in the anti-slavery space which puts a strong focus on the less tangible, but extremely important elements of anti-slavery work - like trust.”

Click here to download the full report or executive summary.

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